Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Competitors enjoy the challenge


August 23, 2017

Stephanie Thompson

Bryant Birch, left, listens to the advice Rudy Gunter is giving him about his drawing.

With only 24 hours to create pieces of 2D and 3D art it's amazing what the artists come up with.

For most artists, the annual Art on the Green competition is a time for them to challenge themselves to try new things while under the 24-hour time limit.

Green River semi-professional artist Bryant Birch was working on a sketch of a cowboy and his horse.

Even though drawing and painting animals in nature isn't anything new to Birch, drawing the cowboy was pushing his limits.

"This is the very first human I've ever done," Birch said.

This is about the only time he can set time aside to draw and paint, he said. The inspiration for Birch's drawing was his horse trainer. Birch said he just took a photo of the trainer with his horse and liked it enough to make a drawing from it. He was going to give the drawing to the trainer.

Birch likes to take photos and make them into his own works of art. For his painting of a bear fighting another bear in a river, Birch used at least three different photos to make one painting.

For his deer drawing, Birch took three photos of deer he liked and them put them together. For the moose painting he used two or three photos to make one painting.

Birch loves hunting and the outdoors and his paintings and drawings reflect that.

"It's something I love to do," Birch said about drawing.

He said even though it's a timed competition, the atmosphere is relaxing for him and he has a chance to be with a lot of talented artists.

One of the talented artists Birch has the utmost respect for is Green River artist Rudy Gunter, whom he sat next to during the competition.

Gunter's name is synonymous with art and he is credited for making the art program in Green River what it is today. Gunter was a high school art teacher and over the years he continued to instill his passion into his students. The students who continued their skills after high school instill their passion into those around them and it has just continued to grow.

"He was definitely my inspiration," Birch said.

Gunter, whose passion has always been art, is still trying everything he can to keep doing something he loves even though he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The nervous system disease weakens the muscles and impacts physical function.

Gunter has felt the impact of the disease in his hands, which is something he needs to create his artwork. This year, he was unable to participate in the sculpting competition, but as he put it he "was attempting watercolor."

"I used to sculpt, but since I got ALS, my hands are gone," Gunter said.

While Gunter was at an ALS clinic, he learned how to put a ball around a pencil so he could hold it to write. He used the same concept to then surround brushes of various sizes with wood or foam so he could hold them to paint.

Gunter was hoping he was an inspiration to the kids he taught, but what he doesn't seem to realize is he wasn't just an inspiration to them then, he is still an inspiration.

Not only is Gunter known for his passion for art, but all the work he did on the Green River Arts Council.

"I came up with the idea to have this competition," Gunter said.

He said after he participated in an ice sculpting competition Green River hosted, he wanted the chance to compete in a clay sculpting competition. He took his idea to the city and they were in support of it.

Gunter said he can't believe how his idea not only became a reality, but has grown to what it is today. He said it's wonderful seeing all his ex students still excited about art and all of the competitors at the competition. This was one of the biggest years at the competition. Gunter said there were so many entries they had to change the way they normally set up the tables and silent auction items. He said this was a great problem to have.

Art on the Green results

Artists' Choice

Professional 2D

First place: Josh Clare

Second place: Shane Steiss

Third place: Jill Hartley

Semi Professional 2D

First place: Bryce Castillon

Second place: Chris Bieber

Third place: Bryant Birch

Professional 3D

First place: Jeff Rudolph

Second place: Bryan Cordova

Third place: Mary Shaw

Semi Professional 3D

First place: Chad Spalding

Second place: Gail VanWagoner

Third place: Trevor Little

Mayor's Choice Awards

Professional 2D: J.T. Schmidt

Professional 3D: Mary Shaw

High School: Paige Pitcher

People Choice

Professional 3D: Bryan Cordova

Professional 2D: Tyrell Jasperson

Judges Choice Results

High School 2D

First place: Haylen Cordova

Second place: Tie; Coleton Spalding and Afton Spalding

High School 3D

First place: Paige Pitcher

Second place: Skylee Gomez

Semi Professional 2D

First place: Bryce Castillon

Second place: Amanda Romero

Third place: Rudy Gunter

Professional 2D

First place: RC Jones

Second place: Josh Clare

Third place: Tyrell Jasperson

Semi Professional 3D

First place: Chad Spalding

Second place: Gail Van Wagoner

Third place: Wayne Kertz

Professional 3D

First place: Jeff Rudolph

Second place: Bryan Cordova

Third place: Mary Shaw

Battle on the Green winner was Jason Parson


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